COVER STORY

Trans­port­ing race­horses isn’t an easy job—but our ex­perts aren’t hors­ing around with their adept skills

LogisticsNews Middle East - - CONTENTS - By Me­hak Sri­vas­tava

The tale and trade of trans­port­ing race­horses

Horserac­ing is one of the her­itage sports of Dubai. Dubai World Cup, a Thor­ough­bred horse race, has been held an­nu­ally on the last Satur­day of March, since 1996. Con­ducted by the Emi­rates Rac­ing Au­thor­ity, it was first held at the Nad Al Sheba Race­course, and since 2010, at the iconic Mey­dan Grand­stand and Race­course. Win­ners can boast of a prize money of $10mn, and tens of thou­sands of peo­ple de­scend upon the city ev­ery year to bask in the mag­ni­tude of this event.

The race it­self falls un­der the ban­ner of the Dubai World Cup Night, which in­cludes seven other Thor­ough­bred races, and one Pure­bred Ara­bian race.

Un­de­ni­ably, trans­port­ing the horses for the races is one of the big­gest chal­lenges. Com­plete care has to be en­sured dur­ing the course of a jour­ney, and the horses travel in ut­most lux­ury, in­side a sta­ble that in­cludes bed­ding, hay, and plenty of wa­ter. Horses have very frag­ile legs and great­est care must be taken not to harm them when the an­i­mals are walked into the stall. Grooms make sure the horses are con­stantly fed and hy­drated; they are clearly the stars of the event.

Emi­rates Sky­cargo, the freight divi­sion of Emi­rates air­line, has been trans­port­ing some of the world’s best race­horses to Dubai for the global rac­ing event.

“Emi­rates Sky­cargo is no stranger to

trans­port­ing horses,” says Hi­ran Per­era, Emi­rates se­nior vice pres­i­dent, cargo plan­ning & freighters. “We have been en­gaged in equine trans­port from 2002 on­wards. Right from the process of board­ing, we en­sure that the wel­fare of the horses is kept in mind.”

In 2017, the freighter trans­ported Ar­ro­gate, the world’s high­est rated race­horse at the time. Ar­ro­gate was joined by sta­ble com­pan­ion Hop­per­tu­nity, an­other con­tender for the Dubai World Cup, for the jour­ney from United States to Dubai. The car­rier worked with the in­ter­na­tional equine trans­port spe­cial­ist Janah Man­age­ment Com­pany, who also pro­vided highly spe­cialised grooms to ac­com­pany the horses, to en­sure suc­cess­ful and safe trans­porta­tion.

“Emi­rates Sky­cargo trans­ports all breeds of horses-- rac­ing horses as well as horses for en­durance races and other ma­jor eques­trian events such as show jump­ing and dres­sage,” ex­plains Per­era. “Be­cause of our reach and net­work, we trans­port horses all over the world— not just the Dubai World Cup but a num­ber of ma­jor eques­trian events around the world. Last year, we trans­ported over 100 horses across three con­ti­nents for the Longines Global Cham­pi­ons Tour. We had to op­er­ate 10 ded­i­cated freighter flights with around 25 horse stalls per flight to make this hap­pen.”

In June 2017, Emi­rates Sky­cargo suc­cess­fully trans­ported some of the world’s best show jump­ing horses across three con­ti­nents in the space of a month. The horses were trans­ported from Liege in Bel­gium to com­pete in the first three legs of the Longines Global Cham­pi­ons Tour in Mex­ico City, Mi­ami, and Shang­hai in April 2017. Emi­rates Sky­cargo worked closely with Pe­den Blood­stock, a spe­cial­ist in horse trans­porta­tion to man­age the com­plex lo­gis­tics in­volved in fly­ing close to 100 horses across four dif­fer­ent coun­tries within the space of a few weeks.

Emi­rates Sky­cargo trans­ported 93 horses in two flights from Liege to Mex­ico City for the first seg­ment of the jour­ney be­tween March 31 and April 1, 2017. The horses, each weigh­ing be­tween 600-650kgs, were trans­ported in Emi­rates Sky­cargo Boe­ing 777F freighters along with 11 ac­com­pa­ny­ing grooms and about 30 tonnes of equip­ment. The flights lasted close to 12 hours and the horses ar­rived at their des­ti­na­tion a few days ahead of the start of the cham­pi­onships. In­ci­den­tally, all the win­ners of the CSI 5 level com­pe­ti­tions at the Longines Global Cham­pi­ons Tour event in Mex­ico City had trav­elled on board Emi­rates Sky­cargo.

The sec­ond leg of the tour in­volved a rel­a­tively shorter three hour hop for the 93 horses from Mex­ico City to Mi­ami on­board Emi­rates Sky­cargo freighters. At the close of the event in Mi­ami, the horses were brought back to Liege on April 16, 2017.

For the next stop in the itin­er­ary, the air cargo car­rier trans­ported 96 horses and 27 grooms in three sep­a­rate flights from Liege to Shang­hai on April 22-23, 2017 and back on May 1-2, 2017. The jet-set­ting horses had ap­prox­i­mately one week on the ground at each des­ti­na­tion to com­pete in tour­na­ments be­fore be­ing trans­ported to the next stop on their itin­er­ary.

Emi­rates Sky­cargo’s freighter hub at Dubai World Cen­tral air­port in­cludes ded­i­cated ar­eas for han­dling and air­side ramps for horses, one of the very few global lo­ca­tions that hosts a per­ma­nent ded­i­cated horse ramp. The car­rier also pro­vides cus­tom de­signed horse stalls and trained and ex­pe­ri­enced ex­pert per­son­nel to en­sure proper han­dling and wel­fare of the horses. In­side the cargo hold of the air­craft, the tem­per­a­ture is set to en­sure max­i­mum com­fort and min­i­mum stress for the horses. Premium horses can also travel with pro­fes-

Cham­pion Horse Ar­ro­gate ar­riv­ing in Dubai at horser­amp DWC

Photo by: Gabriel Nasci­mento

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